God is doing a mighty work in the Middle East. But significant challenges still exist as Christians rebuild from years of war and terrorism.
Early one morning, Joumana’s family was awakened by a loud explosion ripping through their town of Qaraqosh, Iraq.
Though many other families had already left Qaraqosh, Joumana and her mother Jandark had chosen to remain in their home. But the violence had come. Their town was under attack, and ISIS would soon be on their doorstep.
Joumana and Jandark quickly packed their belongings, and held on to hope that they would still have a home to come back to.
“I prepared my bag, but I didn’t expect to be gone longer than a week,” Jandark explains. “When I left, I left the door unlocked so ISIS wouldn’t break it. I had a cross and prayed, ‘Jesus, why is this happening to us?’”
We launched our Hope for the Middle East campaign in 2016 as a response to the horrors inflicted by ISIS, as well as reports we were hearing from partners throughout the region.
During ISIS attacks, Christians were killed, brutalized, enslaved and forced from their homes. Houses and churches were burned to the ground. Many Christians, like Joumana and Jandark, who fled their towns wondered:
Is there anything worth coming back to?
After many long months, Joumana and Jandark returned to their home in Qaraqosh.
Jandark’s cross, which she had left behind, had been broken into four pieces. The rest of the house had been ransacked or destroyed.
"They took all the furniture and stripped everything out of the kitchen,” Jandark says. “They took all the clothes and they burned them.”
Joumana adds, "It was a mess. All of our things were stolen and some parts of the house were burned."
Thanks to Open Doors' partners on the ground, Joumana and Jandark received food, oil and help with rent when they were displaced, and are now getting help to reconstruct their house in Qaraqosh. Across the Middle East, the work of rebuilding will be ongoing, but there is hope.
God is opening doors in the Middle East to enable us to help strengthen and support the Christians who have suffered greatly and who still face significant challenges ahead, including:
Will you help restore lives today?
Brent, a longtime supporter of Open Doors who lives in Michigan, recently donated $20,000 to sponsor a Challenge Grant for this important effort to support Christians in the Middle East. Several years ago, when his church showed a video from Open Doors that captured the plight of persecuted Christians, Brent was moved by the courageous faith of persecuted believers. While Brent recognized he didn't have the expertise to help, he concluded, "We need to get our resources—that is to say, God's resources—into the hands of people who DO have the ability to make a difference for persecuted Christians." Recently, Brent did just that by donating $20,000 to be used as a Challenge Grant to help raise support for Christians in the Middle East.
Today, brothers and sisters in the Middle East need help rebuilding their homes, hearts and lives that have been destroyed by conflict and violence. Open Doors has been working on the ground through church partners to meet the needs of communities and threatened churches in places like Iraq and Syria, helping to provide support like: